United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Bruen, Luther Barnett--Correspondence
Ft Hamilton July 18th 1861 My dear wife: Last night I had the delight of reading two letters from you, and I only regret that it was not possible for you to enjoy the same pleasure. It is not possible for me to devote as much time in writing to you as I would like to, but I hope we shall be together again before long and then I will try to make up for it. _ I wrote you on Sunday & dispatched the letter by Capt. Gilman, to be put in the P.O. somewhere so that it should reach you promptly. I do not know what he did with it, but hope you have got it long since. _ I have spent today in the city, & a miserably hot one it was. Here at the fort we have a delightful breeze & this evening it is, perhaps, a little too cool. _ Yesterday I dined on board the Revenue Cutter, Corwin, and in a few days I expect to go down the bay in her to witness the trial of her new armament the James' rifled cannon. The day before I had a long yacht ride to see a yacht race. There was a dance (got up on the officers) at Ft LaFayette (under my command too) in the evening, but three or four hours exposure to the sun & missing my dinner did not agree with me very well & not feeling as if I should enjoy it, I remained at home. It rained quite hard while the ladies were going over, but they all profess that it was a very pleasant party and I have no doubt of it. _ I went the other day to look at a furnished house which I understood was to be rented. I was too late, however, as it had already been engaged by Col Hoffman, who will occupy it with his family, even if he should be ordered away himself. In the morning, I shall go to look at another house, but as it is unfurnished, I do not expect to like it. I also went to see a lady who keeps a boarding house, but she was full. So , it looks as if you would be obliged to live in the casemates. I do not like the idea so well as I would if there was some ladies here besides, because I do not think you would find it agreeable. We shall have to do the best we can & make ourselves as comfortable as possible. _ I saw Will Herrman in the city today. He tells me he has been there six weeks. Sam Craighead has not arrived yet, but will doubtless in a few days. I shall be glad to see him or "any other man" almost from Dayton._ I got a letter from John Howard which I shall answer soon. I had adopted your suggestion in reference to what you shall bring along with you but have only got the following now: Letter paper (there is some very fine in lounge drawer in the library) envelopes, Dictionary (Maundell's (Treasury of Knowledge, upper shelf of library on South side) towels. I think I wrote about sheets (double)_ a coverlet or two would not be out of the way, nor my blanket shawl. Perhaps a few napkins would be found useful. Bring your medicines & books, because the Surgeon is alopathic. There are some other things which I need not suggest. I am very sorry to hear of Eliza's illness. And fear it has been brought on her by the absence of so many of her family. When Robt. & Quince return I hope she will quickly recover. Tell her & Pricilla that I would like very much to see them & hope they will be able to report themselves well when you write again. Beg P. to quit working so hard or she will never get well. Let her know how far I am getting thro' my way of taking the world easy & bid her go and do like wise & I'll insure her to be a well woman in a very few months. Tell Jerry I will attend to his commission the next time I am over in the city. _ My uniform and the other things arrived safely. As I have a double bed, the sheets do not fit (if they are single, I have not opened 'em) but they will come in play when you come on. My uniform (coat) fits very well & I am highly pleased. Let John Howard signify the same to M Canin & find out what he charges. _ Tell Ernestine I will try & pick out a good man for her from among my soldiers. _ My dear you will live in the "casemates" pretty much as you do at home, but you wont have any gas light. You need not concern yourself about washing. I sent about sixty launderres from this fort, Ft LaFayette & the neighborhood; we have four or five in the fort now, & any quantity of them can be had by exhibiting a dirty shirt. The great trouble is they are too plenty. Our washing costs from $2.50 to $3 per month. We are about three quarters of an hour from New York by the boat & an hour & twenty minutes by the rail road, which runs from Brooklyn ot the Fort. You must think we are out of the world or that we cant have every thing we want, if we have the money to pay for it. Army wives are not expected to indulge in any extravagances, because they cant afford to. This is well understood & acted upon._ I wrote you about getting a trunk & expect to have whatever sewing you consider necessary put out. You had better go to see the preacher & ask him for the rent, tho' I suppose he will want to pay quarterly. I would prefer to have it paid by the month. _ I think I sent a note to you giving H. & S. instructions about your checks. I know I wrote one but forgot to put it in the letter. For fear of mistakes I will enclose another. _ I mean to call on Belle Borrows tomorrow or next day & I shall try to hear Bencher on Sunday_ This sheet is nearly filled and I believe I have nothing more to say, except I that I am very anxious to see you & hope you will make your arrangements to come on as expeditiously as possible. If we can not fix ourselves one way we will another. Good night my darling. Love and kisses to the children, and tell them to be good. Love to thine, mother & all the rest, from Your old Husband.
Catharine Mitchill '31 Collection of Family Letters, Wellesley College Library, Special Collections